Have Kid. Will Travel.

So, I have been reading quite a few blogs along with their comments lately about family travel all over the world. And Insta-stalking several full-time travel families. Wait, is Insta-stalking a word? Meaning to stalk on Instagram… Well if it were not, it should be. Anyway, I have been finding it hilarious and a bit of a bummer how many people are disappointed (in the comments) with how “perfect” everything always seems through the blogger lens. How is it that all your trips are wonderful educational experiences for your little angles? Oh your daughter made it on a 6 hour car trip, never complaining once because you meticulously packed brand new toys and organic snacks to be revealed on the hour? I also feel bad for the people reading these who think this is the way it should be. They say things like “Oh gosh, I’m so jealous, I wish we hiked more” and “if only I could get my little one to ride in the car for more than (insert time here)”.

Well, I’m here to tell you, it’s all bologna. Well about 90% of it is bologna.  It’s very easy to post a few pictures from your day and say, “Great day hiking whew made it 5 miles! The kids were troopers!” Totally ignoring the fact that at mile 3 it was too late to turn back and those troupers were taking “breaks” every 50 yards, which turned your trip into a 6 hour hike. One had to poop in the woods and the other had a melt down that resulted in a near heat stroke and scared the hell out of all wildlife within a 2 mile radius. You thought you packed plenty of food but the one trooper who never eats much decides they are famished so you give up your lunch, resulting in extreme hunger by 2 o’clock and a massive headache. Just remember when checking these out that you may not always be presented with the full story. And that’s ok. It’s not our business as readers to know exactly what happened, unless the person decides to share. Just remember, yes that is a cute picture but someone was probably having a melt down at some point.

I recently saw a post about a family who took a trip based on what they saw other families posting on Instagram of this particular tropical location. Bless her heart. Her post was about how it was an awful trip and she wished she had done just a little more research. I know she was feeling like “What in the world is wrong with me that I did this?!” People were leaving not so nice comments too. I felt just awful for her. We have all been there, made poor travel decisions and then had to make the best of it. One person who left a comment basically said how she didn’t trust any family travel bloggers with much of anything because everyone is so bent on showing how perfect they all are and not showing the real ins and outs of travel with kids. Yikes.

So this “business” of blogging about our travels is pretty interesting. Especially when you add kids into the mix. There are countless articles about hacks for traveling with children, whether it be by car or plane. And I can assure you that you can find two that completely contradict each other. “Give your child an i-Pad loaded with movies and apps.” Then, “Never give out an i-Pad unless it is an emergency” and even a third, “i-Pads only make travel harder for kids”.  How are you supposed to know how to get into a car or load a plane with a kid when there is so much contradictory information floating around out there? (I hope you can read into my sarcasim here- maybe I should be video blogging….)

What ever will you do? Let me tell you. Let me throw my two cents in. Toss my 6 months of traveling hat into the ring. I actually have only two pieces of traveling advice.

  • Do it. Traveling anywhere you can with your kids is a must. Just make a plan, for however long you can, and just go.
  • Don’t listen to anyone’s “hacks”. Just because it worked for Bob and Sue, does not mean it will work for you.

That’s it. Really. You know your kids and family better than anyone else. Trust me. You know your 3-year-old would destroy that press-n-seal homemade sippy cup in 2 minutes flat. Don’t let someone else’s hack list make you think, oh yeah that would be easier to throw away at the end of a travel day. You will end up with apple juice all over EVERYTHING. Then you’ll be cursing that hack list to high heaven.

Is your little one very organized and careful  with their toys? Then a homemade lego lunch box is probably the best idea ever. If little Larry or Luna does not fit that description then probably skip that mess because you’ll be finding legos in your car for the next year.

Snacks? Yes. You must have snacks. Again, you know what your kids are used to and respond to. If you know you can keep a bag of peanut M&Ms in your bag to give you about an hour of peace after a melt down, then go for it. If your darling is used to eating only unsalted nuts and dried fruit then by all means pack that ish up and hand it out. But don’t try to impose new eating habits on a road trip because you read that nuts and dried fruit are excellent road trip snacks. You will be pulling over for Goldfish and crackers faster than you can blink an eye.

I have felt compelled lately to share those two peices of advice. Because there is a lot of emphasis on traveling lately with your kids. Even just short trips. Especially to State and National Parks. But even if you have never traveled anywhere with your kids before, you already have the tools needed for a successful trip. You know what your family will need better than any blogger out there. Just read the blogs for the entertaining stories, maybe travel destination ideas and the beautiful pictures of happy families.

Happy trails my friends.

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